Don’t Get Caught On A Hike Without These 20 Essentials

Don’t Get Caught On A Hike Without These 20 Essentials

Hiking essentials can make all the difference between a peaceful stroll and a nightmare—even the most seasoned hikers don’t hit the trail without the bare necessities, so let’s dive into what they are and why you need them!

1. Water

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a complete newbie, proper hydration is vital during a hike. Easily accessible hydration packs or water bottles ensure you don’t get dehydrated and can regularly partake throughout your journey.

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2. Map or GPS

Even with a veteran hiker by your side, you’ll want a map or some sort of GPS to navigate trails—the last thing you want is to get caught without it should you get turned around. Outside of navigation, these tools also help you reach landmarks and get to safety, especially maps in areas with poor signals. 

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3. The Right Clothes

Always check the forecast before heading out because that knowledge determines how you dress. Waterproof clothes atop suitable wicking (or insulated) layers protect against all kinds of changing weather and maintain comfort.

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4. Snacks

High-energy snacks are best for hikes, which include things like trail mix, energy bars, or dried fruits. Jerky, nuts, and veggies work well, too, all of which can ward off fatigue and ensure you’re fueled during the trek. 

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5. First-Aid Kit

First-aid kits are crucial for tending to any minor injuries or unexpected medical hiccups. Compact kits come with bare essentials like bandages, nitrile gloves, antiseptic wipes, and safety pins. Of course, you’ll obviously want to pack any personal medication as well. 

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6. Personal Information

It’s important to carry personal information no matter where you go. From emergency contacts to your identification, that information is vital for rescue workers should disaster strike. If you don’t want to carry that kind of stuff around, you should still have it listed on your phone.

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7. Insect Repellent

No one wants to get eaten alive on or off the trail, but it’s especially irksome during a hike. The right repellent, whether it’s in spray or wipe form, keeps pesky bugs away and guarantees you won’t be swatting mosquitoes away. 

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8. Sun Protection

Sun protection is important every day of the week and it’s no different on a hike. Hours on a trail means plenty of sun exposure, so make sure you have lots of protection. From sunscreen and sunglasses to lip balm with SPF in it, keep yourself and your skin safe.

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9. Proper Boots

Sturdy, comfortable hiking boots give the ankle support you need to prevent blisters and protect your feet from any harsh elements. The right pair of boots also ensures you have better traction on uneven paths or difficult terrain like mud.

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10. Toilet Paper

Like it or not, you’re in nature and sometimes she calls. The last thing you want is to get caught without any toilet paper or have to wait for outhouses. While we’re on the subject, you may want to carry a trowel with you (for those number twos).  

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11. Portable Charger

Portable charging banks keep your phone alive, which is not only important for any medical information but also allows you to snap photos and keep in contact with people. Luckily, charging banks are small and easily stored in your bag.

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12. Hiking Backpack

Speaking of your bag, the right hiking backpack is just as important as a good pair of boots or proper layers. Your bag is part of your gear and holds all your essentials, but you’ll also have to carry it with you throughout the journey, so make sure it’s one you can manage! 

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13. Lip Balm

It may not seem like it, but your lips can get seriously sunburned. They can also easily dry out on a hiking trail, so bringing balm with you is definitely essential. The best brands have SPF in them, so reach for one of those before lacing up your boots.

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14. Utility Tool

Utility tools or knives can get you out of a jam—minor gear repairs, food preparation, or even something like cutting bandages are only possible with the right tool, so keep one in your bag just in case.

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15. Trash Bag

You don’t want to make a mess on the trail, and the simplest way to avoid that is with a trash bag! Even a small one will do so you can discard any wrappers or bandages, though a larger one can also be kept over your bag should it start to rain. 

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16. Flashlight

Delays happen on a hike, and you don’t want to be caught without a light source once the sun sets. Flashlights or headlamps help you navigate through low light, allowing to retreat to safety and sidestep any difficult terrain. Make sure you pack fresh batteries as well.

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17. Fire Starter

Fires are perfect (and potentially life-saving) in the event of a delayed hike or any soiled gear. Waterproof matches and fire starter cubes can get you in tune with our ancestors as we build flames from seemingly nothing! A good fire keeps you warm, helps prepare food, and dries any wet gear.

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18. Walkie-Talkies

Walkie-talkies are a hiking must—they not only keep you safe in emergencies, but they also allow groups to stay in contact if any of you move at different speeds. The best part about them is that they operate just about anywhere and can get you in contact with someone even if your phone can’t. 

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19. Emergency Shelter

Even if you’re not stranded overnight, emergency shelters like compact tents or space blankets protect you from unexpected weather, too. They’re also lightweight and easily stored in your hiking pack, so there’s no shame in bringing one.

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20. Whistle

Whistles are lightweight but they carry sharply over long distances, which can prove effective should disaster strike. If you get lost or need assistance, a good whistle carries far longer than your voice will—make sure you bring one along.

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